In the heart of Newlands and Claremont, both humming southern suburbs of Cape Town, lie two churches, culturally and linguistically diverse, and yet forming one large parish family. Named after St Ignatius of Loyola, famed for his evangelization, and St Bernard of Clairvaux, who immersed himself in silence and prayer, the parish encompasses schools and hospitals, a hospice and a police station, all of which form part of its sphere of interest and outreach. The silence of Bernard and the zeal of Ignatius continue, day by day, to speak to 21ST century lives and situations.
At the hub of parish life are not programs or projects, but a people, each of whom has decided to live more intensely, more gratefully, by keeping faith with God, keeping Sabbath. And so the parish comprises numerous families who have found it in their hearts to make sacred journey and to worship together. Prayer, in its assorted forms, is primary, and gives substance and structure to lives and situations. Commitment to search God’s word and immerse our lives in it holds an equally vital place in the life of the parish. Numerous Springfield Convent School learners and families have made their spiritual home with us, creating within the parish strong links with the Dominican spirituality and its thirst for truth. But most of all, here at St Bernard’s and St Ignatius, we believe that the mission of the Church does not consist in simply trying to convert people and get them to join, but in in giving itself away in profound acts of service and compassion, asking nothing in return. We envisage our lives as a journey back to the house of the Father, and welcome all people, no matter what their marital status, political affiliation, sexual orientation, language, culture, gender or religious beliefs to be part of that journey with us.